Aug 04 2006

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Robert Sumwalt of Columbia has been confirmed by the Senate to serve on the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). On Graham’s recommendation, President Bush nominated Sumwalt in June, 2006. He was confirmed unanimously by the Senate last night. “Robert Sumwalt has a distinguished career in the field of aviation safety,” said Graham. “He is uniquely qualified for this position. I am pleased President Bush nominated him, and I was proud to support his nomination. Robert represents the best of South Carolina and will serve his nation with distinction.” Sumwalt worked for 24 years as a pilot with US Airways, and currently manages the aviation department at SCANA Corporation in South Carolina. Sumwalt has received extensive education and training in aviation safety and aircraft accident investigation at the University of Southern California. A co-founder of the Air Line Pilots Association Critical Incident Response Program, he also served as a member of the NTSB’s human performance group in the USAir 427 accident investigation. In 2003, Sumwalt joined the faculty at Southern Cal’s Aviation Safety and Security Program. In addition, he frequently conducts aviation safety, crew resource management, and human factors seminars. He is also a speaker at numerous domestic and international aviation safety conferences. From 1991 to 1999, Sumwalt worked as a research consultant to the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) Aviation Safety Reporting System. He has also authored several books on aviation safety. Sumwalt will serve the remainder of the existing term which expires at the end of this year, and a subsequent term which ends December 31, 2011. The NTSB is an independent Federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in the other modes of transportation -- railroad, highway, marine and pipeline -- and issuing safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. ####

Aug 03 2006

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today introduced an amendment that will prevent American servicemen and women from being charged and tried in the Iraqi criminal justice system. The provision, offered as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2007 Defense Appropriations Bill, passed 97-0. Graham sponsored the amendment along with Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California). Graham noted that while the vast majority of U.S. troops are serving honorably and without incident, some Iraqi officials have called for the right to charge and prosecute Americans for alleged crimes against Iraqis. This provision clearly rejects that line of thought and places disciplinary responsibility solely on the American military. Graham made the following statement. “The last thing our troops in Iraq need to worry about is being prosecuted by an Iraqi court under a system of justice that is foreign to American values. This amendment will ensure that no American military personnel serving in Iraq could be prosecuted by Iraqi courts or charged by Iraqi officials. “We have had troops stationed throughout the globe for decades and it is common practice for the American military to retain jurisdiction over any alleged crime committed by American servicemen overseas. The military takes seriously its obligation to discipline its force and to hold American troops accountable when they engage in criminal misconduct abroad. We have a great track record in vigorously prosecuting crimes against foreign nationals by military personnel and an equally good track record of providing a full and fair trial to our men and women in uniform. “I can assure the Iraqi people that any misconduct engaged in by American military personnel will be seriously pursued and vigorously prosecuted. I can assure the American people that any serviceman or woman charged with a crime will get a full and fair trial. “It is important for the United States Senate, and Congress as a whole, to clearly state that no American serviceman or woman serving in Iraq will ever be subject to the Iraqi criminal justice system. I hope this will relieve the concerns of the family members of those serving in Iraq.” ####

Aug 02 2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted in support of an amendment offered by U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) which provides $1.8 billion in funding for the construction of at least 370 miles of triple-layered fencing and 461 miles of vehicle barriers at strategic locations along the southwest border. The amendment was attached to the Senate Defense Appropriation bill which authorizes funding for the Department of Defense. “The first issue to address in immigration reform is border security,” said Graham. “Without strong physical border security no immigration reform will be successful in stopping the flood of illegal crossings. The porous nature of our border doesn’t just pose immigration problems, but national security ones as well. Additional border fencing is a small price to pay when it comes to protecting our national security and relieving the pressure we face from illegal immigration.” Graham noted that border fencing and better physical security of our borders coupled with establishing a guestworker program and a worker verification system are the key components in passing comprehensive immigration reform. Graham has continued to meet with senators and members of the House of Representatives in an effort to find common-ground on immigration reform. He has also expressed interest in immigration reform proposals based on some of the principles outlined in legislation proposed by U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Representative Mike Pence (R-Indiana). “We need to comprehensively address immigration reform and I think we ought to do it before the November elections,” said Graham. “With Presidential leadership and the ongoing talks between members of the House and Senate, I’m optimistic we can get it done. The American people expect us to get this done and we shouldn’t let them down.” #####

Aug 01 2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement on legislation to expand oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Graham is a supporter of the legislation. He said: “The legislation strikes a good balanced between needed energy exploration and sound environmental policy. Any drilling that takes place will be over 100 miles off the Gulf Coast of Florida and can be accomplished without disturbing the coastal areas. The amount of energy that could be extracted is significant and would help make our nation less dependent on foreign sources of oil. “There’s no doubt that as a nation we need to become more energy independent. This is another step forward and I hope the House of Representatives will agree to the Senate’s proposal.” #####

Jul 31 2006

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced the town of Branchville will receive a $1.1 million grant and a $600,000 loan for water system improvements.

The funds will be used to install water distribution lines from Branchville on Highway 21 to the Cattle Creek Road area of Orangeburg County. The project includes approximately 81,500 feet of water line, 54 hydrants, and a 250,000-gallon elevated storage tank. There is currently no public water available in the project area.

The grant and loan were awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Jul 28 2006

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced more than $3.1 million in TRIO Talent Search Program grants for South Carolina colleges and universities. The Talent Search Program helps individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds prepare for higher education by providing academic, career, and financial counseling. The program also encourages high school dropouts to re-enroll and complete their education. Grant recipients include: Claflin University- $220,000 Horry-Georgetown Technical College- $336,117 Midlands Technical College- $345,561 South Carolina State University- $220,000 Technical College of the Lowcountry- $330,804 Tri-County Technical College- $380,134 Trident Technical College- $382,216 University of South Carolina- $329,914 Williamsburg Technical College- $278,634 York Technical College- $301,656 The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. ####

Jul 26 2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made the following statement on the parental notification law which passed the U.S. Senate late yesterday. The legislation would make it a federal crime to take a pregnant minor across state lines to obtain an abortion and avoid parental consent or notification requirements. Graham voted in support of the legislation which passed the Senate 65-34 and will now go to conference with the House of Representatives. President Bush urged the House and Senate to work out the differences and send him a bill for his signature. Graham said: “Parents should be involved in decisions regarding the health of their children, particularly a major issue such as abortion. In some cases, non-parents will assist a minor in leaving their home state to obtain an abortion in another state. The aim is to avoid the home state’s parental notification laws. “The legislation strengthens the role of parents and makes it tougher to avoid state laws relating to parental notification. It also reaffirms that parents are the primary responsible party for their underage children. “I was pleased with the strong Senate vote and hope we can put a bill on the President’s desk for his signature in the coming weeks.” #####

Jul 26 2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) yesterday hosted a meeting with Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman, Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman, Senators Jim DeMint, Saxby Chambliss, Johnny Isakson and Representatives Gresham Barrett, Joe Wilson, and Charlie Norwood. The group gathered to discuss Savannah River Site issues. They made the following statements following the meeting. “Future budget certainty for the Site is a great concern for those in the region,” said Graham. “Every year we are confronted with major budget cuts and find ourselves fighting for level funding. I felt it was important to bring the key players in the room to discuss long-term funding strategies for cleanup and future missions. We had a very productive meeting and I appreciate Secretary Bodman and Director Portman’s work in helping move the MOX program and cleanup efforts forward. We discussed various technical, regulatory, and funding issues affecting current and future operations of the Site. We all share the same goal of moving forward with the MOX program and continuing our cleanup efforts in the most efficient, safe, technically sound, and cost-effective manner possible. I think today’s meeting was a positive development and will help us achieve our common goals in the future.” “I believe our message was well received by Secretary Bodman and Director Portman,” said Chambliss. “They both understand the national importance of the Savannah River Site. The meeting provided us an opportunity to present the case for a stable, robust funding stream for the Savannah River Site. I was pleased to hear of the Administration’s strong support for moving forward with the MOX program and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure this critical program is funded.” “Secretary Bodman has clearly focused much of his time on MOX and the Site’s cleanup, and I’m encouraged he says the Site is one of his highest priorities,” said DeMint. “Director Portman’s experience on these issues and willingness to work with the state delegations makes me optimistic we can put the Site on a stable and predictable path.” “I was pleased to join with my colleagues from Georgia and South Carolina in presenting a unified message on the Savannah River Site cleanup,” said Isakson. “We had a very productive meeting and reiterated the importance of the MOX program and the need to continue our cleanup efforts.” "I appreciate Senator Graham coordinating this meeting and bringing all parties to the table,” said Wilson. “The future of the Savannah River Site is of vital importance to the people of the Second Congressional District of South Carolina. While we continue to face budgetary and logistical issues, we remain focused on moving forward with the MOX program and expediting waste cleanup. Secretary Bodman and Director Portman are in full cooperation, and I am confident this meeting was a step in the right direction." "It was necessary to bring everyone together and talk about long-term strategies for the site, and I appreciate Senator Graham taking the lead and making that happen," said Barrett. "I feel good about the direction we are headed. We are all on the same page as it relates to moving MOX forward and ensuring the clean-up efforts continue in a way that is both safe and cost-effective. There is no doubt that the SRS has a lot to offer South Carolina and the country. Today's meeting was a great step in making sure we move forward in a smart manner." #####

Jul 25 2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the comprehensive immigration reform plan introduced by U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Representative Mike Pence (R-IN). According to a preview story in today’s Washington Post, the plan allows most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States a chance to work here legally, but only after the government certifies the U.S. borders have been sufficiently secured. Illegal immigrants would “self-deport” to their home countries within two years of the bill’s enactment and apply for a new kind of visa allowing them to quickly return to the United States and legally work. After 17 years they could apply for citizenship while remaining in the United States. He made the following statement: “I am very pleased Senator Hutchison and Representative Pence have put a comprehensive solution to our nation’s immigration problems on the table. If we will engage in problem solving, instead of political blame, we can make tremendous progress on this issue. “I consider the Hutchison-Pence proposal to be another step in the right direction. I look forward to reviewing the details of their plan and discussing with them how we can move this very important issue forward. “With continued presidential leadership, I believe the odds are in favor of Congress passing a comprehensive solution which secures our borders, establishes workable employer enforcement mechanisms, and institutes a procedure to deal with the estimated 11 million undocumented workers in the United States.” #####

Jul 25 2006

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced the South Carolina Department of Education will receive a $504,898 Partnerships in Character Education Grant. Funds will be used to design and implement character education programs that teach character elements such as caring, civic virtue, citizenship, justice, fairness, respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, and charity. In addition, programs seek to improve student attendance and academic performance, parental involvement, teacher development, and community involvement. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. ####